15 December 2012

'Roman Nottinghamshire' nominated for an award

Roman Nottinghamshire by Nottingham-based writer Mark Patterson has been nominated for Book of the Year by Current Archaeology. The book is a well written and comprehensive introduction to the area during the Romano-British period and a worthy contender.

You can vote online for it on the Current Archaeology website.

Mark's Roman Nottinghamshire blog is also worth a look.

8 December 2012

New books for December 2012

The following books have recently been sent to me for review.

The north Nottinghamshire market town of Retford is the subject of the first book and forms part of Amberley Publishing's attractive and numerous 'Through Time' series. 'Retford through time' by Nicola Davison Reed shows past views of the town alongside the same view today - a 'then and now' approach. The older images come courtesy of Bassetlaw Museum's impressive photographic collection, a large proportion of which are the work of professional photographer, Edgar Welchman and Son.

The author has selected well and there are many fascinating shots full of human interest. For example, there is an interior shot of Bowskill's newsagents on Chapelgate from 1933. The shop was still around until the early 1980s and I remember it as a claustrophobic, labyrinthine place. Billy Bowskill established an adventure playground in the back garden and I'm sure you could still see crumbling remnants of it from the adjacent car park in the 1970s.
Refreshment Room staff at Retford GNR station, c.1910. Photo courtesy of Bassetlaw Museum/Amberley Publishing.
Other favourites include a photograph of the 1932 Pigeon Show in the Corn Exchange (looks fun), a circus elephant and camels parading through the market square in 1894 and a wonderfully stiff and formal portrait of the Great Northern Railway station Refreshment Room staff from 1910. Not a smile to be seen anywhere: clearly, serving refreshments was a serious business in Edwardian Retford.

The images are accompanied by informative captions, though I did notice a couple of minor errors. Castle Hill Wood to the north of Grove is described as having featured "a castle on a mound" (page 55):  the earthworks have not been conclusively identified as those of a castle and have instead been interpreted as a hill fort, a hunting lodge, a civil war earthwork and a Roman fort so take your pick! The caption for the hotel depicted on page 82 reads "Howards Community Hotel" whereas it clearly says "Howard's Commercial Hotel" in the photograph. The website addresses on the Acknowledgements page should have been checked: the link for my Nottinghamshire History website is incorrect and several other URLs are mis-spelled.

Minor issues aside, this is an excellent selection of photographs of past and present Retford and would make a delightful Xmas present for any Old Retfordians you might know!

The second book, 'British Railways Steam: King's Cross to Aberdeen' by Peter Tuffrey, is a collection of Bill Reed's superb photographs of steam locomotives on the East Coast route. Nottingham-born Reed was a fireman on steam locomotives before graduating to being a driver on diesel-electrics. After work and at weekends and holidays he travelled throughout Great Britain recording the last days of steam. Another book of his photographs, 'The last days of steam in Nottinghamshire from the Bill Reed Collection', was published in 2010 and includes a fine series of images of steam around Nottingham in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Nottinghamshire appears briefly in Chapter Two of the book with nine photographs of trains roaring over the Muskham Water Troughs (just to the north of Newark) and four images of locomotives parked in sidings at Retford.

Further information is available on the Fonthill Media website.

16 November 2012

Ambitious plans announced for Nottingham Castle

Nottingham City Council have recently announced plans for a £26 million redevelopment of Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery should their bid for Heritage Lottery Funding be successful.

According to a council press release, the aim is to develop "a world class heritage attraction offering fun and excitement for all the family and a nationally significant centre for learning about protest and rebellion." There are ambitious claims that the project will bring in an additional £77 million and 1,300 jobs to the local economy. Predictably, our old friend, Robin Hood, will be a key attraction.

While welcoming the proposals to improve the existing museum and art gallery facilities I was slightly worried to find that they also intend "re-establishing the mediaeval moat and bridge" and wonder what English Heritage's reaction will be!

4 November 2012

Millgate Museum in Newark closes

Millgate Museum in Newark opens for the last time today. Newark & Sherwood District Council took the decision to close the  museum a while ago, describing it as having served its purpose and having "become tired."

A museum of the English Civil War is being developed. It will "tell the story of Newark and its residents and  demonstrate the resilience of ordinary lives set against affairs of the nation and the world and interpret the British Civil Wars and Newark’s key role in them."

The new centre will be based at the Old Magnus Buildings on Appletongate which once housed the town's museum until it closed in 2005.

12 October 2012

'The Lost Houses of Nottinghamshire': Aspley Hall

The third episode of 'The Lost Houses of Nottinghamshire' went out this morning on Andy Whittaker's BBC Radio Nottingham show. The subject is Aspley Hall in Nottingham and contains more from me!
Further information on Aspley and other houses covered can be found on the BBC Radio Nottingham Facebook page.

11 October 2012

'Balls, Boots and Players - celebrating 500 years of Nottingham High School in its communty

Lakeside is hosting an exhibition that "explores the relationship between Nottingham High School and its community, illustrated through the lives of the people who belong to it."
A series of free lunchtime talks to accompany the exhibition has also been organised:
  • 'Pure and Constant' (Wednesday, 10 October, 1-2pm, in A09, Engineering & Science Learning Centre) - the life and work of Thomas Hawksley, engineer
  • 'Ken Clark talks' (Friday, 9 November, 1-2pm in the Senate Chamber, Trent Building) - the High School's best known living old boy discusses his schooldays and career in politics
  • 'Balls, boots and players' (Tuesday, 13 November, 1-2pm in the Senate Chamber, Trent Building) - Tony Palfreyman shares his passion for sport and sport in Nottinghamshire
  • 'Karachi and the wilds of interior Sindh' (Tuesday, 4 December, 1-2pm,  in A09, Engineering & Science Learning Centre) - BBC journalist Aleem Maqbool discusses his work as a journalist in Pakistan
Further details are available on the Lakeside website.

6 October 2012

Romano-British settlement found near Clifton

A team from Wessex Archaeology have uncovered a late Iron Age/Romano-British rural settlement near Clifton as part of survey work in advance of the widening of the A453 road between Nottingham and the M1.
Two burials (one crouched), the remains of a structure, Samian ware pottery and a jet bracelet have been found so far.

5 October 2012

New book: 'Fothergill: Catalogue of the Works of Watson Fothergill, Architect'

Darren Turner has recently self-published an impressive catalogue of the distinctive buildings of the Nottingham architect, Watson Fothergill.

Darren states that the catalogue aims "to provide a comprehensive schedule of all of his works and in doing so to bring together as much information as possible about each project to provide an invaluable  resource."

See the book's website for further information and a preview of the book:

1 October 2012

'Nottingham - A Reluctant City' by Adrian Jones

Maid Marian Way in 1968 (photo: Ben Houfton)
Chris Matthews has alerted me to a fascinating online article on current and historic planning issues in Nottingham by Adrian Jones, former Director of Planning at Nottingham City Council. It is a refreshingly honest and critical assessment of planning successes and failures and well worth a look:

29 September 2012

BBC Radio Nottingham's 'Lost Houses of Nottinghamshire' features

BBC Radio Nottingham's series of features on the lost houses of Nottinghamshire has started. Sadly, I missed the one on Clumber which went out on the 20th September but thanks to the BBC iPlayer you can still hear the one on Nuthall Temple which was broadcast on Andy Whittaker's show yesterday morning. Be warned - it includes a fair amount of me droning on!
Dates for future episodes (plus some information and photos of Clumber and Nuthall Temple) are available on BBC Radio Nottingham's Facebook page.

22 September 2012

Welbeck Abbey tour

The Red Drawing Room in 1906.
I spent a fascinating couple of hours on Thursday afternoon on a guided tour of the state rooms at Welbeck Abbey. This summer is the first time the house has been open to the public for many years and places on the tours sold out within a day or so.
The state rooms (including the Swan and Red drawing rooms, the dining room, the library, the print gallery and Gothic Hall) are very impressive and portraits of Holles, Harley, Bentinck, Ogle and Cavendish family members cover many of the walls. Our guide, Cheryl, was excellent and I was amused to see that someone in the family enjoys Jamaican Ska - I spotted the CD cover in the Gothic Hall!
Sadly, we didn't get to see the underground ballroom (which needs major restoration work) or any of the 5th Duke's tunnels but what we did see was well worth the £10 ticket.

19 September 2012

Nottinghamshire Archives news

Nottinghamshire Archives programme of events and activities this autumn/winter is now available on their website. This includes:
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of the archives building
  • Lunchtime talks on the different architectural styles of buildings in the county, Nottingham architect T C Howitt, the development of Forest Fields in Nottingham, the history of Nottinghamshire churches
  • Workshops on parish records, Southwell Minster archives, sources for the English Civil Wars in Nottinghamshire, occupations and trades of our ancestors and wills and inventories
  • Archive skills workshops
  • Workshops on The Old Streets of Nottingham (using photographs and maps) and Wikipedia Workshop (updating heritage content online)
Full details and booking information is available here.

A new finding aid to business records held by Nottinghamshire Archives has recently been made available. It is organised by business name and also by business category.

Documents of the month:

The Nottinghamshire Historian, Autumn/Winter 2012

The latest edition of The Nottinghamshire Historian journal has just arrived. Contents include:
  • Notes on a nineteenth century childhood (memories of Nottingham by Sam Kirk who emigrated to the United States in 1880)
  • The twice-celebrated peace 1918-19
  • Growing up in the vicarage in the 1930s (memories of childhood in Sutton-in-Ashfield)
  • Book reviews
Further information from the NLHA website.

The Power and the Glory: churchmen of note in Nottinghamshire', 22 October 2012

The Nottinghamshire Local History Association are holding an event entitled 'THE POWER… AND THE GLORY: Churchmen of Note in Nottinghamshire' on Saturday, 22 October at The Village Hall, Ravenshead. Please note that Dr David Marcombe has kindly agreed to speak in place of Canon Michael Austin who is currently unwell.

Rethinking Luddism in Nottinghamshire: 22 September 2012

Dr Matthew Roberts will be giving a talk revisiting the Luddism of Nottinghamshire framework knitters on Saturday, 22nd September 2012, at 2pm in The Sparrow's Nest, St Anns.
"As is well known, the epicentre(s) of Luddism was not in Nottingham itself but in the surrounding villages. Many of these villages were still essentially rural communities. The Luddism of the villages was part of a repertoire of protest acts (arson, poaching, even robbery and attacks on rural property), the origins of which were to be found in the traditions and customs of the English rural community. The Luddites were not semi-professional criminals divorced from their wider community. Rather, Luddite cells grow organically from kinship, neighbourhood and trade connections. The talk will also challenge the view that Luddism in Nottinghamshire was constitutional and moderate."
To entice you further, the poster for the event states "there WILL BE TEA. There MAY BE CAKE"!

15 September 2012

D. H. Lawrence and the Nottinghamshire countryside feature on BBC's Countryfile (Sunday 16 September 2012)

Moorgreen Reservoir, near Eastwood
BBC 1's Countryfile programme to be broadcast at 7.30 tomorrow night will feature D. H. Lawrence and the countryside around Eastwood that inspired him. The programme will also explore how the county's old industrial landscapes are now being transformed into havens for wildlife.

Further information and the programme itself (after broadcast on Sunday) are available here on the BBC iplayer.

12 September 2012

Nuthall Temple and Aspley Hall

I spent yesterday morning with Andy Whittaker of BBC Radio Nottingham wandering over the sites of Nuthall Temple and Aspley Hall for a series on Nottinghamshire's 'lost houses' to be broadcast in October.
Strictly speaking we didn't wander over the site of Nuthall Temple as that would suicidal - it lies under the M1 just north of Junction 26! Instead, we had to stand near the one publicly-accessible remnant of the house, an imposing but weather-worn gate pier from the 1750s which still stands by the roadside in the centre of Nuthall.

Nuthall Temple is a major architectural loss. It was one of only four houses in England inspired by Andrea Palladio's Villa Rotonda (which is located just outside the Italian city of Vicenza) and the only one built outside the south-east. The local landowner, Sir Charles Sedley, commissioned architect, astronomer and garden designer Thomas Wright to build him the house in 1754 and by 1757 Sir Charles had moved in.
One of the glories of Nuthall Temple was the domed octagonal hall which was 18 metres high and decorated with exquisite plasterwork by Thomas Roberts of Oxford depicting the subjects of music, sport, science, and warfare; there were also medallions representing eight of Aesop's fables.
The estate was owned by the Holden family from 1819 to 1926 when Rev Robert Holden died and both house and land were put up for sale. At the auction in November 1927 various farms and parts of the estate sold but no one was interested in buying the house itself so, in April 1929, the fixtures and fittings were sold at auction in 528 lots and the fabric of the house itself was bought for £800 by J. H. Brough, a firm of housebreakers from Beeston. On 31 July 1929, J. H. Brough and a reporter from the Nottingham Evening News set fire to wooden props under-pinning the walls of the west wing and this part of the house was demolished. Further demolition work continued over the following weeks but the house was solidly built and parts of the east front remained standing for the next 37 years until contractors building the M1 bulldozed them in advance of the road.
The eminent architectural historian, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, called the destruction of Nuthall Temple "a disgrace" and it is difficult not to agree with him.
By contrast, Aspley Hall was on the surface a fairly unprepossessing three-storey house on the north-west outskirts of Nottingham. However, appearances can be deceptive and the fabric was found to incorporate a late medieval brick tower. A 1554 rental of lands formerly belonging to Lenton Priory mentions the house (which was by that time in a semi-ruinous state) and it is likely that Aspley Hall was originally a hunting lodge for the Prior. The brick tower is specified in the rental and it would have contained the Prior's solar or private bedchamber. Even heads of monastic houses needed a retreat to escape to!
The house belonged to the Willoughby family for many years until it was sold in 1925 to Alderman G. E. Taylor. Taylor died in 1965 and despite his son's best efforts to find someone to take the house on no one was interested and the house was demolished in 1968 to be replaced by an estate of 4-bed detached houses.

11 September 2012

Nottinghamshire stories featured in The BBC's The Great British Story

I've only just got around to watching the last few episodes of Michael Wood's splendid series, 'The Great British Story: a People's History' which was broadcast this summer and was delighted to see that Nottinghamshire stories are featured in two episodes:
  • Episode 5, 'Lost Worlds and New Worlds', visits Scrooby and north Nottinghamshire and discusses the importance of the Pilgrim Fathers (according to one local, "America began here in Scrooby", so ponder on that claim!)
  • Episode 6, 'The Age of Revolution', includes a sequence shot in Upton parish church with Professor Martyn Bennett of Nottingham Trent University, which used the entries in the Upton parish constable's accounts to illustrate the impact of the English Civil Wars on village life in the 1640s
Regrettably, these episodes can no longer be viewed on iPlayer. The BBC microsite is here: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00vyqz7

3 September 2012

Save Trent Lane Depot campaign

Chris Matthews is running a campaign to save the distinctive buildings of Trent Lane Depot from demolition. The site was once described as "Nottingham's Highway to the Sea" and consists of two impressive concrete warehouses and a basin built between 1928 and 1931. Further information on the depot and the campaign is here:

14 August 2012

Wollaton Dovecote Museum open 8-9 September 2012

Wollaton Dovecote Museum (built in the late 16th century) will be open during Heritage Weekend, Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th September, 2-5pm. The museum is located on Dovecote Drive, off Bramcote Lane, Wollaton, Nottingham, NG8 2NB.
"Photographs of Lord Middleton's visit in May will be displayed, and the original door will be open to show the interesting brickwork on the side of the building not normally accessible to the public. Displays this year include The People of Wollaton, a History of the Willoughby Family Through 700 years, a poster about the Wollaton Antiphonal, and more old photographs from the Russell School. Andrew Hamilton will lead a guided walk around the village on Sunday afternoon starting at the Dovecote at 3.00pm lasting around 45 minutes, refreshments provided. Admission free."

New entries on the Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway website

The latest history research guides to be added to the Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway website over the last few months include:

29 July 2012

Heritage Open Days in Nottinghamshire, 6-9 September 2012

Heritage Open Days "celebrates England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission." A list of properties and sites in Nottinghamshire (from a tour of the Grade I listed D10 building at Boots to behind the scenes tours of the Galleries of Justice museum stores) is now available:

28 July 2012

'Ice Age Journeys' project at Farndon

Farndon Archaeology Research Investigations (Fari) have recently launched a project to further investigate prehistoric archaeology found during the construction of the new A46 at Farndon. The project is called 'Ice Age Journeys' and aims to discover more about Ice Age hunter gatherers. The Heritage Lottery Fund is funding the first two years of research which will involve "surveying, fieldwalking, some excavation, recording and publishing." Fari is looking for volunteers to take part in field walks and the archaeological investigation itself.

24 July 2012

Festival of British Archaeology

Apologies for nearly having missed it but The Festival of British Archaeology has been running since 14 July and is due to finish on Sunday, 29 July. There are a few events taking place in Nottinghamshire:
  • Finds from Adrian Oswald's excavations of Mansfield Woodhouse Roman Villa can be seen (and pottery handled) at Mansfield Museum
  • Nottinghamshire Community Archaeologists are running a 'living history' event at Newark Castle on Saturday, 28 July
  • Also on Saturday there is a drop-in event for finders of archaeological objects at Bassetlaw Museum
  • Make your own fossil at Cresswell Crags
There doesn't seem to be anything happening in the City of Nottingham, although if you search the events database for 'Nottingham' you get a tour of Oakham Castle (Rutland), an event celebrating the story of Robin Hood at Conisbrough Castle near Rotherham and most bizarrely of all, an organised visit to The Wag of Forse in Caithness, northern Scotland!

For more information visit the CBA website.

4 July 2012

Open Churches Weekends, 9-10 and 16-17 July 2012

Just reminder that churches across Nottinghamshire and the city of Nottingham will be open to visitors over two weekends this month. The special weekends, on the 9th-10th and 16th-17th July, are intended to give people "the chance to discover or rediscover the rich variety of churches we have across the county. For information on which churches are participating please visit the Southwell and Nottingham Open Churches Project website.

20 June 2012

News from Nottinghamshire Archives

Nottinghamshire Archives (along with the County Council, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham University and  Nottinghamshire Local History Association) is running a conference called 'Make History Happen!' on Wednesday 18 July 2012, 10am - 4.30pm. The event is intended for 16-21 year-olds interested in heritage:
A new online exhibition is now available on the history of Southwell Chapter. Of particular interest are the documents relating to cases before the Chapter Court; for example, in 1683 John and Jane Beckit were summoned before the court for fornication (prior to their marriage) and excommunicated. However, they declared penance in 1684 in order that their second son could be baptised in church.
A talk on Nottinghamshire’s Sporting Heritage will take place on 10 July at 2.30pm. See the Events page for further information:

4 June 2012

Newark gets Heritage Lottery funding for Civil War centre

Newark has been successful in securing £3.5 million of Heritage Lottery funding for a national English Civil War centre to be based in the Old Magnus Buildings in Appletongate. The whole project has been costed at £5.4 million and the local council is now looking to other funding bodies to make up the shortfall.

31 May 2012

New book: 'The Portland Path'

Jacksdale Area Culture and Heritage have published a 68-page book describing "the early railways linking the collieries at Selston with the Cromford Canal at Jacksdale, the methods used and the people involved."

The Portland Path Project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with the aim of highlighting the history of a tramway that stretched between the Portland
No. 1 colliery, in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, to Portland Wharf and Butterly Iron Works in Jacksdale.

The book costs £4.95 and will be launched on 3 June on Jacksdale Soldier Day at the Jacksdale Miners' Welfare Club.

30 May 2012

An Updated Research Agenda and Strategy for the Historic Environment of the East Midlands

Nottingham University and York Archaeological Trust have jointly published an update to 'The Archaeology of the East Midlands: An Archaeological Resource Assessment and Research Agenda' published by Leicester University in 2006. It is lavishly illustrated and contains a large number of photographs of sites in Nottinghamshire.

11 May 2012

Our Mining Heritage event in Eastwood, Sunday 27 May

"Our Mining Heritage" is a forthcoming event designed to celebrate the culture and heritage of the former Nottinghamshire coalfield.

There will be displays with a mining theme and two talks:
  • "Having the Crack - Pit Poetry and Humour" from John Stafford and David Amos
  • "The Mubu Coalmining Project 2010-12" from David Amos
The event will take place at the D H Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood on Sunday 27 May, 11am-4pm.

Further details are available on Nottingham University's Connected Communities website and David Amos' Facebook site.

Transactions of the Thoroton Society, Volume 115 (2011)

The latest Transactions of the county historical society has just been published. Contents include:
  • Settlement Patterns in The Parish Of Bingham, Nottinghamshire from the Mesolithic to Modern Times by Peter Allen 
  • Bothamsall Castle, Nottinghamshire an Archaeological and Historical Landscape Analysis by Andy Gaunt and James Wright 
  • The Nottinghamshire History Lecture 2011: Trent Bridge School Nottingham 1909-1919: a decade of loyalty, service and endurance by David Nunn 
  • 'It's not what you know...' Patronage in eighteenth and nineteenth century Nottinghamshire. Introduction to Patronage essays by Richard Gaunt 
  • Patronage and power in eighteenth century Newark by Stanley Chapman 
  • The eighteenth century country attorney: Professionalism and Patronage. The Hodgkinsons of Southwell by Michael J. Kirton 
  • Church and class patronage in Nottinghamshire in the nineteenth century by Michael Austin 
  • Keeping it in the family: political patronage in early nineteenth century Nottinghamshire by Richard Gaunt 
  • Samuel Barker: the Duke of Newcastle's head gardener at Clumber, 1899-1935 by Philip Jones 
  • The Building Works of William, 4th Lord Byron, at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire 1700-1736 by Rosalys Coope
Further information and ordering details are available on the Thoroton Society website.

9 May 2012

Exhibition: “The many lives of DH Lawrence - memoir, legacy and biography revealed”

A new exhibition devoted to D H Lawrence has recently been opened at The Lakeside on the Nottingham University campus. The exhibition draws on the internationally important collection held by Nottingham University and "traces the origins and development of the biographical preoccupation with Lawrence" from the widely different accounts of his life published in the 1930s by his contemporaries to recent academic research based on recent discoveries that offer new perspectives.

Admission is free and a series of talks has been arranged to accompany the exhibition. Further information is available on The Lakeside website.

6 May 2012

Angel Row History Day, 12 May

The Nottinghamshire Local History Association has organised a History Day at the Local Studies Department of Nottingham Central Library on Saturday 12 May, 11-3pm.

Groups such as The Thoroton Society and Nottingham Women's History Group are involved and help and advice from archivists and local studies librarians will be available.

All are welcome.

9 April 2012

Nottinghamshire County Council Community Archaeology

The county council's community archaeology team, supported by local volunteers, has spent another fortnight at Kirkby Hardwick in an attempt to better understand the development of this intriguing site. Photographs of this year's excavation can be viewed on Facebook.

Other recent projects have included a geophysical survey of Willoughby deserted medieval settlement (near Norwell) and Moor Pond Wood at Papplewick.

For more information on their work see:
One of the archaeologists, Andy Gaunt, is responsible for the History and Archaeology of Medieval Sherwood Forest website ("a website dedicated to the archaeology and history of Medieval Sherwood Forest; its landscape and people, the dreaded forest law, Robin Hood, and Outlaws and Villains.") - well worth a visit!

6 April 2012

Time Team at King John's Palace, Kings Clipstone

It took a while to confirm the details but it appears the Time Team programme on their work at King John's Palace, a royal hunting lodge in Sherwood Forest, is being broadcast at 16.05 on Easter Sunday (8th April).

This will be Time Team's first ever visit to Nottinghamshire in 19 years. They took their time!


19 March 2012

Nottingham Industrial Museum re-opens

The industrial museum, housed in the stables at Wollaton Hall, was closed in 2009 as part of council cost-cutting. However, funding has been found to reopen the attraction and volunteers will run it. It will be open Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays between 11am and 5pm (4pm in the winter) and there will be a small admission charge.

Members from the Nottingham Arkwright Society are organising monthly events where the steam engines will be in full steam.

15 March 2012

Open Churches Weekends, July 2012

Churches across Nottinghamshire and the city of Nottingham will be open to visitors over two weekends in July. The special weekends, on the 9th-10th and 16th-17th July, are intended to give people "the chance to discover or rediscover the rich variety of churches we have across the county".

For information on which churches are participating please visit the Southwell & Nottingham Open Churches Project website.

13 March 2012

Angel Row History Forum

The Angel Row History Forum was launched in January 2011 and was established "to provide a meeting place for anyone with an active interest in local history and other heritage matters in and around Nottingham."

It is planned to meet four times in 2012 and a special event (the 'Angel Row History Fest') has been organised for Saturday 12 May to promote local history periodicals, books and volunteering in the Greater Nottingham area.

For further information please visit the Nottinghamshire Local History Association website.

9 March 2012

Events at Nottinghamshire Archives in 2012

Nottinghamshire Archives have organised a series of workshops, each one devoted to particular classes of records:
  • 18 April 2012 - Military records
  • 16 May 2012  -  Police records
  • 20 June 2012  -  Records of royalty
  • 25 July 2012  -  Apprenticeship records
  • 15 August 2012  -  Nottingham City Council and its records
  • 19 September 2012  -  Electoral registers
Archives skills workshops are also being run:
  • 8 June 2012   -   Reading parish registers (English)
  • 15 June 2012   -   Reading parish registers (Latin)
  • 24 August 2012   -   Finding Your Way Around Nottinghamshire Archives
There are also organised tours of the building on the first Thursday of every month:
  • 5 April 2012
  • 3 May 2012
  • 7 June 2012
  • 5 July 2012
  • 2 August 2012
MAKE HISTORY HAPPEN! Youth Heritage Conference 2012
A conference aimed at young people aged 16-21 with an interest in heritage will take place at The Lakeside Arts Centre, University Park, Nottingham on Wednesday 18 July 2012: 10.00am – 4.30pm.

For further details on all these events see the Nottinghamshire Archives website.

23 February 2012

The Nottinghamshire Historian, No.88 (Spring/Summer 2012)

The latest edition of The Nottinghamshire Historian journal has arrived and contains the following articles:
  • The leather industry in Nottingham with particular reference to Turney Brothers’ Leather Works, Trent Bridge
  • Commemoration of the 1817 Pentrich Rising
  • The Nellie Greenhill Memorial Prize
The issue also includes a wide range of news items, book reviews and list of local history lectures in the county. Further information on the journal and the Nottinghamshire Local History Association is available on the website.

Event: 'New windows on our past: recent archaeological discoveries in Nottinghamshire', 31 March 2012

The Nottinghamshire Local History Association has organised a day-school on Saturday 31 March devoted to recent archaeological work in the county. The programe includes:
  • 12 years of excavation on the Romano-British site at Besthorpe Quarry in the Trent valley
  • Archaeology under the A46: results of the initial assessment
  • Roman remains at Southwell
  • Community excavation of Kirkby Hardwick manor house
The event will take place at the Village Hall, Ravenshead between 10 and 4.15.

Fee £6.50 for members of the NLHA, £7.50 for non-members.
Please contact David Anderson, 35 Sycamore Road, East Leake, Loughborough LE12 6PP or telephone 01623 870515, to secure your place or for more information. Attendance is possible without booking, although it is helpful to the Association to know how many are attending.

New book: 'Awsworth through time' by Bryan Maloney

Amberley Publishing have recently published another attractive book in their 'Through Time' series. Awsworth is a little known village on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border about 6 miles north-west of Nottingham. Glass was made here in the late 17th century and mining was the principal occupation of its inhabitants by the late 19th century. The Nottingham Canal was constructed around the village in the 1790s and two monumental railway viaducts were built nearby to carry lines across the Erewash valley in the 1870s: the brick-built '40 Bridges' was sadly demolished in 1973 but the impressive iron-built Bennerley Viaduct still stands.

The author, Bryan Maloney, has assembled a fine selection of images to show how the village and its people have changed over the last 120 years. What is striking is just how much of the industrial past has vanished from the area: much of Nottingham Canal in the area was removed as part of open-cast coal mining or to make way for roads, the chemical works and Bennerley ironworks have long since vanished, the railway network torn up and the mines closed. 

Rather than just provide an endless succession of photographs of streets and buildings Bryan has wisely opted to give equal weight to the human dimension so there are many photographs of village events, sporting teams, school classes and local characters. I was particularly struck by the photograph of Don Brown which shows him seemingly leaping to his doom from the 40 Bridges railway viaduct (he was, in fact, jumping onto the earth embankment at the western end of the viaduct). The sepia image of the Awsworth Bicycle Club, gathered in an orderly fashion outside The Gate pub in the early 1900s is another favourite.

Bryan should be commended for making this collection available to the wider public as many of the photographs are from private sources and have not been seen before. I should admit a personal interest here as I had a minor role in helping to prepare the photographs for publication and it is rewarding to see how well they look on the page despite the poor quality of some of the originals.

It is a splendid collection of images with very informative captions.

4 February 2012

2 February 2012

English Civil War museum planned for Newark

Newark and Sherwood District Council has agreed to submit a bid for £3m to the Heritage Lottery Fund to establish a "national Civil War museum" in Newark. The plan is to use the Old Magnus Buildings (which ironically used to house the town's museum until a few years ago) on Appleton Gate to accommodate the new museum.

29 January 2012

King John's Palace at Kings Clipstone on Time Team

The new series of Channel 4's Time Team has just started and the episode devoted to the excavation of the medieval royal palace and hunting lodge at Kings Clipstone will air on 1st April. At long last the programme has   made it to darkest Nottinghamshire - it's only taken 19 years!

While we wait with eager anticipation there are some nice photos of the dig on the Nottingham University website and a report and photos on the Mansfield Chad site.

14 January 2012

For Sale: 43 to 59 Castle Gate and Severns House, Nottingham

A substantial part of Castle Gate is being put on the market by Nottingham City Council. The fine Georgian terrace which once housed the Costume Museum and the 14th century Severn's House are being sold on behalf of the council by Bruton Knowles. The medieval Severn's House was originally located on Middle Pavement but was dismantled, moved, and re-erected in its current position back in 1968 to make way for the Broadmarsh Centre.

11 January 2012

Tours of Welbeck Abbey, August-September 2012

This year there will be a  rare opportunity to see the state rooms at Welbeck Abbey. The Harley Gallery is organising tours of the house (though sadly not the underground ballroom or tunnels) in August and September. Tickets are selling fast so if you are interested see the Harley Gallery website.